Taiwan travel guide
Sitting pretty as one of Asia’s best-kept travel secrets, the spicy, scenic island of Taiwan makes a habit of smashing visitor preconceptions.
Outsiders tend to see this country as notable only for its technological prowess – an image reinforced by the global prominence of ‘Made in Taiwan’ stickers – but in reality this is a destination that serves up awe-inspiring panoramas, a rainbow of different cultures and a startlingly rich history.
Alongside night markets, cycle trails and hot springs, there are gleaming skyscrapers, hulking mountains and sparkling lakes. When you factor in the manageable size of the island, which is less than half the size of Scotland, the appeal becomes even more significant.
Taiwan is one of the few places on Earth where ancient religious and cultural practices still thrive in an overwhelmingly modernist landscape. This juxtaposition is expressed most clearly in Taipei, where futuristic marvels like Taipei 101 – one of the tallest buildings in the world – share the city with incense-fogged temples and indigenous communities.
This mix of different influences is wonderfully showcased by the island’s cuisine – a lip-smacking blend of Chinese, Japanese and aboriginal fare.
Like many aspects of life in Taiwan, its diverse cuisine makes sense when you look at the island’s history. Following five decades of Japanese rule, in 1949 a liberated Taiwan became a refuge for the Chinese Nationalist Party and their supporters, who fled here during the Chinese Civil War. To this day, Taiwan remains a product of this period – a maverick sovereign state still viewed with uneasiness by Beijing.
History buff or not, there’s much to enjoy in Taiwan. Away from the sleek towers of the cities, it’s the valleys, lakes and gorges of the countryside that tend to leave the greatest impression. The fact that comparatively few tourists make it here is more to do with a lack of awareness than a lack of things to do – hikers, cyclists, divers, surfers, pilgrims and gourmands will all find a little slice of heaven in this corner of Asia.
36,188 sq km (13,972 sq miles).
23,395,600 (UN estimate 2016).
647 per sq km.
President Tsai Ing-wen since 2016.
Premier Su Tseng-chang since 2019.
Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Taiwan’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.
If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
The UK does not recognise Taiwan as a state and has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, so limited consular services are available to British nationals. See Consular assistance
There are over 60,000 visits to Taiwan by British nationals annually. Most visits are trouble-free.
Crime levels are low, but small-scale petty crime does exist. You should maintain at least the same level of vigilance as you would at home, and take sensible precautions. See Crime
There has been a significant increase in cases of dengue fever. See Health
For information about Monkeypox see Health
You should not enter Taiwan with animal products without prior authorisation as those caught smuggling products may face heavy fines. See Customs regulations
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Taiwan, attacks can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism
You can contact the emergency services by calling 110 (police), 119 (ambulance and fire) and 113 (the domestic abuse and sexual assault hotline).
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British office, embassy, consulate or high commission.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Taiwan on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Taiwan.
Travelling from and returning to the UK
Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Public spaces and services
Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has been updating its guidance on epidemic prevention measures on a continual basis.
For the month of March, the following measures are now in place:
- Starting from 17 April, there is no longer a requirement to wear face masks when taking public transport, on board aircraft or on vessels. The indoor mask mandate was relaxed from 20 February, but it remains a requirement to wear a mask when visiting hospitals and healthcare facilities. The CECC recommends you wear a mask in crowded places, where proper distance with others cannot be maintained.
Travel in Taiwan
Passengers arriving in Taiwan from overseas are now permitted to take public transportation from the airport.
If you suspect that you may have contracted COVID-19, or have experienced any suspected COVID-19 symptoms in the 14 days before your arrival in Taiwan, you should inform airport staff for immediate medical assistance.
You should refer to the Taiwan Centers for Diseases Control website or contact their helpline on 1922 for further information on the epidemic prevention measures in your area.
Healthcare in Taiwan
If you are in Taiwan and believe you may have been exposed to or may have contracted coronavirus, your first point of contact should be the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) helpline which is 1922. If you are unable to speak to anyone at the CDC you can telephone the British Office, Taipei for support.
Fees for foreigners diagnosed with COVID-19
Starting from 1 January 2023, foreign nationals who do not hold a National Health Insurance (NHI) card are required to pay for medical costs associated with COVID-19 infection. Individuals with moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted directly to a hospital for treatment.
You should make sure that you have adequate travel and medical insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad. See the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) guidance on foreign travel insurance.
Quarantine requirements for COVID-19 cases contracted in Taiwan
Starting from 20 March, individuals who present as asymptomatic or with mild COVID-19 symptoms are no longer required to undergo a mandatory five-day quarantine. Symptomatic COVID-19 cases will be encouraged, but not required, to stay at home for self-health-management until your symptoms ease, or wear a mask at all times if you go out. Individuals with moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted directly to a hospital for treatment, with their case recorded by the authorities. The length of your quarantine period will depend on the seriousness of your COVID-19 infection.
You should refer to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or contact their helpline on 1922 for further information.
For contact details for English speaking doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.
View Health for further details on healthcare in Taiwan.
See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.
COVID-19 vaccinations for children
Children aged between 5 to 11 years old are able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Taiwan. You should visit the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control website for further information on the vaccine roll-out in Taiwan.
You can find out more information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for children on the NHS website and our online COVID-19 vaccination resources page on gov.uk.
Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.
If you’re a British national living in Taiwan, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
If you need urgent consular assistance, see Consular assistance
Monitor the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control website for measures that Taiwan is taking to combat coronavirus.
There are three options for holders of a UK driving licence to drive in Taiwan. You may wish to compare each option to decide which route is more appropriate to your personal needs and circumstances.
The first option is to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) in the UK from a UK Post Office. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel. Once in Taiwan, you will need to take your passport, IDP and a passport photograph to a local Motor Vehicles Office to get your IDP validated. This option has the shortest and simplest procedure and can be completed on the same day. Your validated IDP will only last up to 12 months, and a new IDP needs to be obtained and validated thereafter to continue driving in Taiwan.
The second option is to exchange your UK driving licence for a Taiwanese licence at your local Motor Vehicles Office using the Licence Exchange Arrangement. Your Taiwan licence will expire 6 years from the date of issue. You will need to provide the relevant supporting documents and, in line with UK legislation, your existing UK licence will be returned to the DVLA by the Taiwanese authorities when you apply. You will be able to drive in the UK with your Taiwan licence as a visitor for up to 12 months each time you enter the UK. If you plan to return to the UK to live, you will be able to exchange your Taiwan licence for your UK licence. Please note that British Office Taipei cannot provide support on individual applications. Visit our Living in Taiwan page for application guidance.
The third option is to take a local driving test to obtain a Taiwan driving licence, while retaining your existing UK licence. This option requires more time commitment, but long-term UK residents in Taiwan may wish to consider this option. Do not drive a vehicle without a valid licence.
The alcohol limit for drivers in Taiwan is lower than in the UK. The current legal limit is 0.15 micrograms of alcohol per 1000 millilitres of breath or 0.03% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Driving while over the limit can result in heavy fines and imprisonment. Passengers may also be fined.
Roads and vehicles are well-maintained but scooters and motorcycles often weave in and out of traffic. Be alert when crossing roads as vehicles might not stop at pedestrian crossings.
Advance fee frauds
Individuals and companies in the UK (and elsewhere) often receive letters, faxes and e-mails, offering them large sums of money provided they send various ‘advance fees’ to Taiwanese bank accounts. Fraudsters obtain contact details from telephone or commercial directories, so recipients are not being specifically targeted.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) investigates advance fee frauds in the UK. Do not reply to these types of communication. The NCA website contains more information on this type of fraud.
The UK does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The British Assistance and Services Section of the British Office Taipei can provide certain limited consular assistance. In cases of genuine emergency, the British Office may be able to issue you with an emergency travel document.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Taiwan, attacks can’t be ruled out.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.
You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places visited by foreigners.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
You should avoid any involvement with illegal drugs, which includes cannabis, whilst in Taiwan. Drug laws are stricter than in the UK, and involvement with illegal drugs, which includes cannabis, can attract strong sentences. Legal definitions of what constitute supply or trafficking may vary substantially from in the UK, including the quantities of drugs involved. If you’re found guilty of smuggling, trafficking, possession or use of illegal narcotics you can expect to receive a severe jail sentence or, in some cases, the death penalty.
This page has information on travelling to Taiwan.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
Rules to enter Taiwan change frequently. You should keep up to date with the latest information on the websites of the Central Epidemic Command Center, National Immigration Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Taipei Representative Office in the UK.
The authorities in Taiwan set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Taiwan’s entry requirements apply to you, please contact your local Taipei representative office or embassy.
On 12 September 2022, Taiwan reinstated visa-exempt entry for British passport holders. British visitors are permitted to spend up to 90 days in Taiwan under this scheme for tourism, international exchanges and business purposes.
If you are unsure whether you are permitted to enter Taiwan, or have further questions about the resumption of the visa-exempt entry scheme, you should contact your local Taipei representative office or embassy before you attempt to travel. Entry procedures are being regularly reviewed so may change at short notice.
Passengers entering Taiwan under the visa-exempt entry scheme will be required to follow the epidemic prevention requirements set out below.
Epidemic prevention requirements for passengers arriving in Taiwan
International arrivals in Taiwan will be expected to observe a 7 day “self-initiated epidemic prevention” period. The authorities will no longer provide a free self-administered rapid COVID-19 test kit for international arrivals. Rapid test kits can still be purchased locally if required. You will only need to take a rapid test if you develop symptoms during your 7 day self-initiated epidemic prevention period.
Passengers arriving in Taiwan from overseas are permitted to take public transport from the airport. You are allowed to leave your accommodation at any time, without needing to take a COVID-19 rapid test during your 7 day self-initiated epidemic prevention period. But you should wear a mask while outside of your accommodation.
You should refer to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or contact their helpline on 1922 for further information.
Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) holders
If you already hold a valid Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) or Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC), you do not require a visa to enter Taiwan. For more information, you should visit the website of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If you are in Taiwan you can also contact the ‘Information for Foreigners in Taiwan’ helpline on 0800-024-111.
If you are unsure if you are permitted to enter Taiwan, or you have further questions about entry restrictions and conditions, you should contact your local Taipei Representative Office (TRO) or airline before you attempt to travel. Entry procedures are being regularly reviewed, so may change at short notice.
Youth Mobility Scheme Visas
British nationals in Taiwan who hold a Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) visa are able to apply to switch in Taiwan to a working visa or a visa to study a degree course at undergraduate level or higher.
All applications should be submitted to the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) for consideration. You will then be able to apply for an Alien Resident Card at your local National Immigration Agency (NIA) Service Center once your application has been approved. You should contact the Bureau of Consular Affairs or National Immigration Agency for further information.
Children and young people
Children under the age of 12 would be subject to the same quarantine requirements as their parents or legal guardians. You can accompany your children if they test positive for COVID-19. Refer to the Taiwan Centers for Diseases Control website or contact their helpline on 1922 for information on testing facilities.
For further information on healthcare in Taiwan, see the Coronavirus section.
If you’re transiting through Taiwan
Transiting is when you pass through one country or territory on the way to your final destination.
International transits are now permitted at airports in Taiwan. For further information, you should contact your airline.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
If you are visiting Taiwan your passport should be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive.
If you are a resident in Taiwan, your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive.
Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
You may spend up to 90 days in Taiwan without a visa. You can then extend this by a further 90 days once you have entered Taiwan. If you plan to stay in Taiwan for longer than 180 days you must have a visa before you arrive.
Specific rules exist for naturalised British Citizens born in the People’s Republic of China and holders of British National (Overseas) passports wishing to enter under the visa waiver scheme.
If you stay beyond the period of your visa (‘overstay’ your visa), you will be fined and risk being deported from Taiwan.
For further information on entry requirements, contact the Taipei Representative Office in London, 50 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0EB, telephone: 020 7881 2650 or in Edinburgh, 1 Melville Street, Edinburgh EH3 7PE, telephone: 01312 206886.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Taiwan.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Taiwan. If you’re entering Taiwan using an Emergency Travel Document (ETD), you must apply for a visit visa before travelling (unless you’re travelling from mainland China, in which case you can get a visa on arrival).
You should not enter Taiwan with animal products without prior authorisation as those caught smuggling products may face heavy fines. Due to recent reports of African Swine Fever Virus (ASF) in pork products, particularly from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), local authorities have increased quarantine checks and inspections.
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country or territory-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country/territory-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist are available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries and territories. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines.
If you’re bringing any prescribed medicine into Taiwan, you should bring the prescription issued by your doctor, hospital or clinic that shows the medicine is for your personal use. The amount of medication you bring must be consistent with the amount stated on the prescription. Cannabis oil and cannabis derived medication, even if legally prescribed elsewhere, cannot be brought into Taiwan.
For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the Taipei Representative Office in London.
Taiwan has adequate health and dental facilities to handle routine, emergency and outpatient treatment. Some have English-speaking staff. Hospitals operate on a ’pay as you use’ basis. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 119 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment. Unlike the UK, it is not normal practice for a paramedic to accompany an ambulance.
There has been a significant increase in cases of dengue fever. Cases are usually concentrated in the south of Taiwan (including the cities of Kaohsiung and Tainan) and are highest during the summer months. See the Taiwan Centre for Disease Control website for more information. You should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has announced that any individual who tests positive for monkeypox in Taiwan will be required to be admitted to hospital to receive treatment. The length of your hospitalisation will depend on the severity of your condition.
If you have been in close contact with an individual who has recently tested positive for monkeypox you will be required to undergo 21 days of self-health management.
If you are in Taiwan and believe you may have been exposed to or may have contracted monkeypox, your first point of contact should be the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) helpline which is 1922. If you are unable to speak to anyone at the CDC you can telephone the British Office Taipei for support.
You can find out more information regarding monkeypox on the NHS website.
Although the chance of landfall is currently assessed to be low, the path of Typhoon Mawar means hazardous sea and weather conditions across Taiwan are likely, peaking 30-31 May. Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau have warned they may issue a sea warning on 29 May. The typhoon’s trajectory is likely to change as it advances – you should monitor alerts issued by the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau to get the latest information and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.
The tropical cyclone (typhoon) season in Taiwan normally runs from May to November. There’s a risk of road blockages and landslides following typhoons, especially in central and southern Taiwan.
Listen to Typhoon Alerts on ICRT, BCC and PRS radio stations, or alternatively monitor the websites of the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau, Japan Meteorological Agency, ICRT and DGPA (Announcement of Office and School Closures in Taiwan).
See our tropical cyclones page for advice about how to prepare effectively and what to do if you’re likely to be affected by a hurricane or tropical cyclone.
Check the Central Weather Bureau website and the Directorate General of Highways website before travelling.
Earthquakes do occur in Taiwan. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
Western Union, Moneygram and Travellers Express have offices in Taipei, but operating hours are restricted. It is not possible to exchange Scottish or Northern Irish bank notes. Bank transfers can be slow. Some branches of The Bank of Taiwan and HSBC will accept British credit cards, but you will incur handling charges. ATMs are plentiful but not all accept British bankcards (most ATMs in 7-11 convenience stores accept international cards). Designated banks will accept American Express, Citibank or Thomas Cook travellers’ cheques but you should be prepared to produce your purchase certificate or receipt as well as your passport when cashing them. If in doubt, check whether your travellers’ cheques will be accepted in Taiwan before you travel.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the FCDO in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, ), or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.